per work instructions. When inexperienced operators have to look at an
older press brake control interface
that has nothing but numbers and
axes, they can struggle.
The Numbers Tell the Story
Since installation of the press brakes,
Millard has kept an eye on their performance. Actually, Alaso logs and
tracks production time for all shop
floor operations, which simplifies
future technology investment decisions, but in this case it was helpful
to see if the actual numbers were
going to support the visual evidence
that more parts were making their
way through the bending department
Millard said he looked specifically
at long-run jobs, which call for 1,000
parts or more. These jobs account for
about half of all the work being done
in the shop.
Just by looking at those particular
jobs, Millard said he noticed production speed increases from 18 to 22
percent. The eye did not deceive.
The new bending technology and the
employees’ willingness to use it were
making a difference.
The controls on the new brakes
also were helping to save time between jobs. Mullis said she started to
use the memo function on the controllers to leave specific instructions
for operators before they began any
bending job. Memos might include
guidance on why the part requires
a specific punch or die or any other
processing details to help other operators fully understand how to process each part.
Not only does the memo include
the work instructions, but it also
makes a note of who created the instructions and the date the memo
was created. That’s important, according to Millard, because if Mullis
wrote the memo, that’s the gospel
in that bending department. Mullis
has written the program, mastered it,
and had engineering approve it.
“An individual can fire up the memos and read in detail how that part is
supposed to be processed. That gives
me confidence that the way that Jill
first set up the job will be the way
that it is run the next 10,000 times,”
He added that work continues to optimize fabricating
processes in other areas of the plant. This means parts
are headed to the customer meeting all the tolerances
and per agreed-upon delivery dates, and Alaso is able to
further invest in production technology to keep up with
customer demands and remain ahead of global competitors. Millard said that also might mean a larger electric
press brake down the road.
In the case of the chicken and the housing, the electric
press brake comes first.
Editor-in-Chief Dan Davis can be reached at
Alaso, 863-606-0033, www.alaso.com